This month we speak with the CEO of Renmark Paringa Council, Tony Siviour. Tony tells us about his background, what he enjoys most about working for a country council and his ideas for the future.
Hi Tony - thanks for speaking with us.
What’s your current role, and what does it involve?
I am currently the CEO of the Renmark Paringa Council and have been in this role for approximately two and a half years.
Where were you before and what attracted you to your current role?
I spent approximately 5 years on the Eyre Peninsula in my first CEO role before returning to the Riverland, with a short 10 month stint at Rural City of Murray Bridge. I am passionate about the Riverland and had always wanted to return to the community where I grew up in a decision making capacity.
What is the most satisfying thing about working in Local Government?
Positive outcomes at a local level. That’s what I enjoy the most.
We have an extremely well presented town which we pride ourselves on and to receive positive feedback on the presentation of the town gives me great satisfaction. I also enjoy the great diversity that comes with the job.
Speaking about your current role - How do you think Renmark Paringa will change during the next 10 years?
Our community needs to become less reliant on irrigated horticulture and diversify into other areas, be more efficient in our water use and explore opportunities for alternative varieties and markets.
The leaders in the Riverland region took the opportunity to access the Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund which has seen innovative projects driving change.
In terms of Local Government our Council will work to a greater level regionally, particularly in the area of strategic procurement. We have already commenced on that journey.
What will be the biggest influences on those changes?
The biggest influence on change in the region will be the community's ability to
embrace change. As I mentioned before the leaders in a particular sector are embracing change and accessing the funding available to do so.
What’s the longer term plan – where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Definitely still in local government or a role linked with local government and community outcomes.
What’s your most embarrassing Local Government moment?
Ha ha where do I start !! No it was in 1993 and I was a junior working at the Berri Council (pre amalgamation) I had taken the burial details on a Friday for a hand dug grave on Monday.
The issue was that I forgot to pass the details on to the Works Supervisor. When the funeral director arrived an hour before the burial he couldn’t locate the hole. 4 depot guys with 4 shovels were deployed to madly dig the grave with the grave still being dug as the hearse was driving into the cemetery.
The great thing about that moment was it was the first and last time I ever forgot to pass on burial details.
How do you spend your leisure time outside of Local Government?
Is there such a thing? No for some reason I have just bought a vineyard which is fantastic release from a day in the office.
I love playing cricket too but the eyes are going now so this summer will probably be social tennis and taking my kids skiing and fishing, and maybe the odd quiet frothy.